Senior Muslim figures have said that they are shocked that a number of Walkers snacks contain traces of alcohol and eating them is therefore against their religion.
A tiny amount of alcohol is used in some products as a chemical agent to extract flavour.
The use of alcohol was discovered by Besharat Rehman, who owns a halal supermarket in Bradford, and reported in the Eastern Eye. Mr Rehman said: “Our suppliers were unaware of the alcohol. Walkers must make it clear on the packaging so customers can make an informed choice.”
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Shuja Shafi, who chairs the food standards committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that he intended to investigate. “Certainly we would find it very offensive to have eaten food with alcohol.”
Masood Khawaja, of the Halal Food Authority, said that it had raised labelling issues and alcohol flavouring with Walkers before. “They should have looked into the matter and solved it instead of hiding behind labelling regulations. It does not matter what percentage of alcohol is involved.”
However, a Walkers consumer care team representative was unapologetic. She said: “There is not enough room on the packaging to list things beyond allergy-causing ingredients that can make people ill. A minimal amount of alcohol is used to extract the flavour of some crisps.”
Snacks that are likely to be boycotted by Muslims are Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli, Doritos Chilli Heat Wave and Quavers Cheese.